Iboyaima Laithangbam

IMPHAL: At least six persons including two local residents were killed on Saturday and eight others seriously injured when a shopping mall, which was to be demolished by the authorities, crashed. Four unskilled labourers hailing from Bihar and one local resident were crushed to death on the spot while another person died of injuries in the hospital. Hospital sources said the condition of the injured is serious.

Though the police have registered a case no arrest has been made. The police say that the owners of the shopping mall had hired the labourers. But the owners said that they had been paid compensation by the government and as such they had nothing to do with the demolition bids and carting away of the remains of the shops like iron rods and bricks.

A ranking police officer said that the labourers and local residents had dismantled the portion on the ground floor and as a result the first floor had toppled crushing the people. It took more than ten hours to rescue the injured persons and extricate the bodies.

The government had served eviction notices on the encroachers of the national highway from Imphal to Singjamei having a distance of 5 km. The owners had been paid compensation.

Though they were given enough time, some owners did not demolish their shops. As a result, the officials have been launching a demolition drive. Some owners are said to be launching their own demolition to save the building materials.

Officials say that henceforth no owner shall be permitted to carry on demolition to avoid further accidents.